EE Fashion File
A new entrant into the eclectic world of couture, fashion label Raishaa plans to woo the ladies with fresh, flamboyant and creatively styled ensembles. Launched in the midst of the lockdown, the brand comes with a personality all its own, distinguishing the Raishaa woman as one who is bold, confident and daring.
Mother-daughter duo, Shonali and Radhika Datta, come together to create a combustible collection that is at once alluring, inspirational and original. Shonali, a management graduate from Melbourne University and Radhika, currently studying Fashion Styling and Production at The London School of Fashion, created Raishaa during challenging times. Raishaa is a trailblazer for original fashion and style, honoring the Indian handicraft yet catering to modern trends with elements of western influences. It was inspirational and an eyeopener chatting with the talented designers, and as they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Here’s the story behind the brand- Priyanka Sippy in a candid, fun and interesting conversation with the women behind Raishaa
PS: How did Raishaa come about? What was the inspiration behind the brand?
RD: Raishaa came about while I was developing a fashion film for a university
(London College of Fashion) project. Being stuck at home due to the ongoing pandemic, I had to create the costume for the film from old clothes lying around the house. The focus of this film was the need for slow fashion and the importance of recognition of labor in the fashion industry. To put it into practice, the costume was created in collaboration with local artisans who were unemployed at the time to encourage their craft and give support to their livelihood. Because it was such a success and mom and I had such a fun time exploring design and creating our clothes from upcycled fabrics, we decided to take this forward and that’s how Raishaa was born.
SD: The inspiration behind the brand was my sartorial aesthetic. I am considered as a fashion diva in my friends’ circle because of my unusual combinations in clothing. For example, for an upcoming festival like Holi I would pair a white shirt with a brocade skirt or a neon skirt – anything unusual that would definitely make me stand out in a crowd. I wanted Raishaa to reflect this contrast of styles and so I made a collection that was young and fresh in a quirky yet stylish way and hopefully suitable, relatable and wearable by all age groups. The clothes are inspired by an indo-western outlook and the styles are for the modern trendy woman who isn’t afraid to take things up a notch when it comes to experimenting with her personal style. In a nutshell, Raishaa is inspired to deviate from the traditional Indian aesthetic and introduce a new outlook.
PS: What were the challenges you faced when you started out?
SD: We did all of this in 10 days. Right from the creation of the sample pieces from upcycled fabrics to the creation of our catalog shoot, website and social media handle, everything was up and running in 10 days.
RD: We had no industry or financial backing. We just started out with an idea that was spontaneous in its implementation. Our main goal was to create something aesthetically pleasing, hoping it took off.
SD: Since it is just the two of us and three tailors at the moment, we have been multitasking to meet deadlines every other day. No day is a free day at Raishaa! On a serious note, our styles are really unusual and out there because we have introduced a new take on traditional Indian wear which many people are not familiar with. So, it did take a while to break through the traditional mindset, but overall, the collection has been very well received.
PS: In today’s competitive fashion industry, how do you plan to stand out?
RD: Our main objective when we decided to launch Raishaa was to stand out in the current market. We created the collection with the outlook of getting spotted for our unusual sartorial sense. In my opinion, the current Indian fashion market is heavily saturated with bridal couture and traditional festive wear featuring heavy embroidery and traditional brocades. Our clothes stray from this norm in the sense that we create traditional silhouettes like the lehenga and sari in unusual prints, colors and light and fuss free fabrics.
PS: Tell us about Raishaa’s current collection
SD: Our current collection is inspired by a hope for an endless summer. Featuring thigh high slit togas, tunic tops and slinky saris for the older generation to flouncy skirts and crop tops for the youth, our collection features light, fuss-free fabrics like organza, georgette and net in pop neon colors, elegant Chantilly lace and satins, bold sequins and summer prints that overall encourage an easy, breezy summer sartorial attitude.
PS: Do you plan to show at Fashion Weeks?
SD: Yes, we do hope we come across an opportunity to showcase our creations at Fashion Weeks. At the moment, apart from the present samples, our clothes are created on a made to order basis to promote slow fashion and zero waste production, but if the opportunity arises, we will have a collection ready to showcase.
PS: Who is your favorite muse?
SD: Our favorite muse is Tiara Dhody. Her carefree and spontaneous attitude toward life and her quirky personality perfectly capture what the Raishaa woman is all about. Our clothes are ideal for her age group.
PS: Name a celebrity you would like to style in Raishaa?
RD: I would love to see Ananya Pandey or Alaya F in Raishaa. I think their sartorial sense is very well suited to our brand aesthetic.
PS: How has the experience been, working together?
SD: Difficult at times, because we are of two different age groups so we continuously clash during the designing process. We have to come to a compromise regarding a style that would suit both our generations. Overall, we have the same aesthetic because ultimately her fashion sense has been developed by looking at me and the way I dress.
PS: What inspires you?
RD: I am currently obsessed with all things Bridgerton, the decadent luxurious costumes created by designer Ellen Mirojnick, especially the empire silhouettes worn by the Featheringtons.
PS: Which International and Indian Fashion designer do you admire?
SD: Indian would have to be Sabyasachi. Internationally, Dior and Chanel.
RD: Papa Don’t Preach by Shubhika.
PS: What are your future plans for the brand?
SD: Our immediate future entails us showcasing our summer resort wear collection at the Wedding Junction Show, curated often by stylist Shaleena Nathani, at the end of the month (29th-30th Jan) at St. Regis Hotel, Mumbai. We have also been scouted by Fashion Merchandiser Sanchita Majumdar to have our collection showcased at a multi-designer store along with designers the likes of AMPM and Nikhil Thampi, we are working on that prospect. Ultimately our hope for Raishaa is to be an established designer house with a standalone boutique.
PS: In one word what does fashion mean to you?
PS: If not fashion, what would you do?
SD: I’m known as a notorious diva so I would hope to have my own reality TV show.
RD: Be an editorial journalist.
PS: Your favorite motto?
RD: Nothing good comes easy…and, anyway, easy is no fun.
SD: A new you starts now